West Side Story
Millions of people love the 1961 version of West Side Story and can’t imagine it being bettered. But we’re here to tell you that it has been bettered, by Steven Spielberg, and that is why we are showing it on a Saturday for a night out to a film that has to be experienced on the big screen. Just about everything about this version is better; the list is too long to include here but we assure you that you will love it! It had seven Oscar nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita, the part taken by Rita Moreno in the original, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and has also won a BAFTA. And guess what? Rita Moreno is in this version too, playing Valentina, who is an updated version of Doc, the owner of the store that the gangs hang out in.
Everyone knows the story, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And everyone knows the songs, everyone a classic and they just keep coming. Immediately at the start of the film, one can feel the craftsmanship of this restaging of the classic Broadway smash. The camera doesn’t just capture action on a set—it glides with the performers, and we glide along with them. The editing avoids the choppy rhythms of so many recent musicals, allowing viewers to feel motion and connection. We are instantly hooked and will be for the next 2.5 hours.
The new voices here are those of absolute geniuses, including Spielberg, writer Tony Kushner (Angels in America), who makes more sense of the story and the gang rivalry, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, choreographer Justin Peck, and a stunning ensemble of new voices and talented veterans. Kushner and Spielberg have stayed loyal to the play and original film while also making notable changes in a way that makes it fresh and vibrant. And they have staged their production in a way that’s often mesmerising. There are so many breathtaking, perfect sequences in this West Side Story that we suspect it will do what the original did for a lot of people, make them a fan of the entire genre.
(99 seats remaining)
Venue: William Loveless Hall